- Lapsang Souchong Tongmu Background
- Lapsang Tongmu Preparation
Lapsang Souchong was the first black tea to be produced in China, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911.) It can be an acquired taste. Either you love it or you hate it. I was one of those who hated it. When my supplier told me he was sending me a sample of Lapsang Souchong, I told him not to bother because I didn’t like it. He sent it anyways and, as he predicted, I loved it! His explanation is that I had never tried an authentic, good quality Lapsang. This one could easily end up being one of my favorite teas!
Ingredients: Artisan black tea
Origin: Tongmu Guan, Fujian Province, China
Our Premium Lapsang Souchong Tongmu is from the Guadun, Tongmu Guan, and was made by one of the historic, genuine Lapsang manufacturers using the traditional drying process of smoldering pine fire instead of adding flavors commonly found in most Lapsang Souchong of lesser quality. The result is a superb tea with a pronounced dried longan aroma and a smooth finish. The smokiness is evident but not overpowering so that the natural sweetness of the tea is accentuated followed by a slight tingling sensation in the throat. We’ve been told by experts that a good Lapsang Souchong such as this is best partnered with a single malt scotch whiskey! Take a sip of whiskey followed by a cup of hot Lapsang Souchong. It is the perfect match that will keep you coming back for more.
Lapsang Souchong, a member of the Wuyi Bohea family, specifically the Wuyi Caicha Cultivar, is a black tea from the Wuyi region of China’s Fujian Province. The Fukienese word 'souchong' literally means 'little variety' or subvariety. Lapsang is distinct from all other kinds of tea because the leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires, taking on a distinctive smoky flavor. It is said that the tea was created during the Qing era when the passage of armies delayed the annual drying of the tea leaves in the Wuyi hills. Eager to satisfy demand, the tea producers sped up the drying process by having their workers dry the tea leaves over fires made from local pines. In order to be considered an authentic Lapsang Souchong, it must come from the Tongmu Guan which was the birthplace of Lapsang Souchong. Tongmu Guan is a national nature reserve in the Wuyi Mountains and is considered by Chinese tea experts as being the core Lapsang Souchong tea producing area. The tea bushes are grown in a semi-wild environment, at an altitude of more than 1000 meters.
Water Temperature: Just off the boil
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1 Tbl. (2.5 grams)
Steep Time: 3-7 minutes
Number of Infusions: 1-2
Our Lapsang Souchong Tongmu Premium can be brewed using either the standard western or the Chinese gongfu method. When using the western method we highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." However, leaving the tea leaves in the water will result in an over-infused, bitter tea. If you want a stronger cup of tea increase the amount of leaf rather than the steeping time. If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot. Although Lapsang Souchong is a good straight-up, it is most frequently consumed with milk and sugar.
When using the traditional Chinese gongfu method increase the leaf to water ratio to 2 grams per 100 mil. water. The first infusion will be for about 30 seconds, increasing the time for each subsequent infusion. In this manner you will get approximately five infusions.